Adventuring across Quilpie Shire presents a number of opportunities – If you like keeping close to the main towns, visit Lake Houdraman; or do you enjoy travelling through the area and are ready to camp in the outback then take a trip to Mariala National Park. Whatever you choose you are bound to see a variety of flora and fauna of significance.
Outback Queensland has not always been a dry place. In dinosaur times, rainforests once covered much of the land, but with the onset of a cooler, drier climate about 30 million years ago, these forests were gradually replaced by grasslands and eucalyptus stands and seasonal dryness. Fire then started to influence vegetation.
Today’s climate zones in which northern and central Australia receive mainly summer rains were only established 2.5 million years ago. Fluctuating climates then continued to shape the landscape—creating sandridge deserts and drainage patterns and, subsequently, the arid-adapted plant communities seen in today’s outback.
Mulga Lands meets the Channel Country
Covering the semi-arid lands across the Quilpie Shire, the mulga lands stretch and cover about 12 per cent of southern Queensland. The bioregion lies mostly in the Murray–Darling Basin.
Flat-to-undulating plains and low ranges are dominated by drought-tolerant mulga Acacia aneura, with patches of grasslands and eucalypt-acacia woodlands. Much of the region is used for grazing cattle and sheep.
In eastern areas with higher rainfall, poplar box Eucalyptus populnea and other eucalypts co-dominate the canopy. To the north, the heavily-timbered mulga lands contrast sharply with the open clay plains of the Mitchell grass downs.
Further to the west the mulga gets shorter and sparser, eventually merging into the braided floodplains of the Channel Country — where unpredictable rainfall creates cycles of boom and bust.
The name comes from the numerous intertwined rivulets that cross the region, covering 150,000 km². The Channel Country is situated over the Cooper and Eromanga geological basins and the Lake Eyre Basin drainage basin. Further to the east is the less arid Maranoa district.
The primary land use is cattle grazing which, in recent years, has replaced sheep grazing. It is estimated that in the Queensland section there are estimated to be between half to one million head of cattle. The area’s towns and cattle stations are serviced by a mail run that is operated by the regional airline that delivers goods and passengers as well as mail.
In 2013, the Queensland Government placed caps on water extraction from the region’s river system to prevent the introduction of cotton growing. At the same time open-cut mining was banned but coal seam and underground mining have been permitted after changes were made to the Wild Rivers legislation